Blast from the Beatles past
start downstate: Louise Harrison recalls brother George's American debut in Southern Illinois
By Rowena Vergara
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/beac ... eatles.htm
AURORA — Decades ago, in the small town of Benton, Louise Harrison promoted her younger brother's record album to radio stations across Southern Illinois.
But disc jockeys hated the sound of George Harrison and his mates, Louise said. Americans had no clue who these mischievous rockers from Liverpool were — and they didn't care, either.
"I told them my kid brother had a number one album in England, and they said it was just noise," Louise recalled at last week's Downtown Alive! in Aurora, where the popular band American English played a tribute to her late brother's band, the Beatles.
In September 1963, when George visited Louise in Benton while on vacation, the downstaters finally took notice. George, Louise and her husband went to hear a band play at a VFW in Eldorado. George was taken by surprise, Louise said, when he was invited to play a few songs with the band. He reluctantly took the offer — and lit up the stage, she said.
During this spontaneous performance, America had its first taste of a sound the world would treasure for the next 40 years.
Louise affectionately shared many stories before the performance by American English at Downtown Alive!
She spoke about more than the legendary rockers from Liverpool, though. She also praised the five guys from the Chicago suburbs who make up American English, "the most authentic Beatles tribute band," in Louise's words.
Louise, who makes several appearances with American English, even jokingly said Marty Scott, who impersonates George, was her adoptive brother. She introduced the group as her "good, good friends and new brothers."
Although Scott said he and his band members are not completely identical to the actual Beatles in appearance and speech, for Louise, they are as real as it gets. "Each of them have a bit of each Beatles' personality. Kevin (Mantegna) sounds just like John (Lennon) sometimes," she said.
Like the first time she spread the word about her younger brother's band, Louise still uses the airwaves to share Beatles tales. She has hosted radio talk shows and has made numerous television appearances.
Through the talk show circuit and appearances with American English, Louise is bringing George back to life for herself and for fans.
"This is the closest thing I can get to having my brother with me still," she said.
At the end of August, Louise will speak at another American English concert in Las Vegas.